As United Methodists, we celebrate a distinct theological heritage. We owe this heritage to God’s work through the early Methodist leaders like John Wesley, Thomas Coke, & Francis Asbury. This heritage has been handed down throughout the generations to you and to me. If someone asked, “What does a United Methodist believe?” we might start with these four basic points.
- Everyone needs to be saved (original sin) We all have a propensity to want to satisfy our own wants and desires. We have chosen our way over God’s way. We do things that separate us from God, from others, and ourselves. Nothing we do of our own work can redeem this situation. (Romans 3:23-24)
- Everyone can be saved (universal grace) God took the initiative to restore the relationship we broke. God sent prophets, signs, and wonders yet humanity still turned away. At just the right time God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to Earth to live, teach, to die, and to be raised again. In Jesus, the relationship has been restored. God offers this restoration to EVERYONE. (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-7)
- Everyone can know they are saved (assurance) We need not fear that God would love us any less. Or that we can do anything to separate us from God’s love. He will never leave us nor forsake us. What He says He will do, He will do. (Romans 8:38-39)
- Everyone can be saved to the uttermost (Christian perfection) We go on to perfection by God’s grace. We are made perfect in love by prayer, the study of the Scriptures, the participation in the Sacraments, service to others, and worship. These are not things we do to earn God’s love, but our response to His grace. We grow in His grace the more we respond to it. (2 Samuel 22:31, Matthew 5:48)